Much like any good birthday party, celebrating the anniversary of our nation's independence should be full of parades, cookouts, and fireworks. However, any celebration can turn into a painful memory when partygoers aren't careful. For a pain-free, safe 4th of July, follow these tips from a Fort Lauderdale chiropractor.
1. Stay Hydrated
The 4th of July in South Florida can be summed up in two words: hot and humid. The risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration skyrocket when the temperature outside rises. The key to a healthy and safe 4th of July while out in the sun is by staying hydrated. If you won’t have immediate access to water throughout the day, make sure to pack some water bottles to keep handy.
2. Snack Smart
The highlight of the day will probably be the barbecued feast, but be mindful of the snacks you also set out for the day. While reaching for the cookies and potato chips can be tempting, unhealthy snacks can make you feel worse throughout the day. Foods that are rich in salt and are heavily processed can make you feel thirstier throughout the day.
Try healthier options, such as carrots and celery dippers, or even a patriotic-themed fruit salad of blueberries, watermelon, strawberries, and pineapple. Snacks like watermelon and even cucumber can help keep you hydrated.
3. Protect Your Skin
Who needs the sun to suffer a sun burn? Even if it’s cloudy, the sun’s harmful UV rays can still damage the skin. Reapply sunscreen every two hours if you’ll be out in the sun for a long period of time, and remember to use a sweat- or water-resistant formula. Dips into the pool or ocean, or even working up a sweat, can remove the lotion.
4. Practice Water Safety
Especially in Fort Lauderdale, the water can be crowded during the 4th of July. If you'll be aboard a boat or other watercraft, it's more important than ever to follow safe boating practices and remain alert.
If you'll be jet skiing, remember that jet skis are absolutely no different than larger watercrafts. When you're riding the jet ski, lean forward and relax your grip, keeping the elbows slightly bent. Don’t lean forward enough that your chest is touching the handlebars, and only board the jet ski from the back as attempting to reboard from the side will cause the jet ski to flip.
For both boats and smaller water crafts, take your time boarding and departing the vessel. Only one person should board at a time, wearing water shoes to prevent possible slip and falls. If you feel fatigued pulling yourself out of the water and up onto the boat, do not rush. Rest a moment to avoid injuring yourself. Last but not least, leave the alcohol onshore – its effects are exaggerated by the sun and will only put you, and those around you, in danger.
5. Leave the Fireworks to the Pros
Despite what the dozens of firework stands off I-95 would like you to believe, setting off fireworks on your own can be incredibly dangerous. If you don't believe us, ask the 12,900 people who were treated for firework related injuries in 2017. Don't try to put on your own firework show at home, and leave it to the professionals instead.
6. Proper Posture for the Show
Even if you're not launching your own fireworks, chances are that you'll still be watching them. However, keeping your neck craned so that you can look up at the display can wreak havoc on your spine. The joints of the neck are compressed when you look up, and especially for those who are vulnerable to neck injury, these joints can become inflamed and painful. Muscles can then tighten up, irritating surrounding nerves and causing shooting pain.
Instead of keeping your neck tilted for the entire firework display, find a chair or lounger with a neck rest that leans back. This way, the sky will still be in your line of sight, but your neck will be supported while you watch.
From tossing around a Frisbee with friends and family to walking along the beach or even hopping onto a jet ski, injuries can happen in the blink of an eye. The team at ChiroCare of Fort Lauderdale wants to remind you to have a safe 4th of July this year, and remind you that we'll be here bright and early on the 5th – just in case.